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Friday, May 20, 2011

Treat of the Week: Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

So far the response to the blog has been so overwhelmingly kind and supportive.  I thank you all for continuing to read.  I know it's only the second post but many a show has closed/been canceled after one night so I consider this a good start.  I have already had people say they can't wait to see some recipes.  And since I have to keep the fans happy, I have decided to post twice a week.  Mondays will be the day for talking about health, wellness, nutrition, exercise, and progress and every Friday I will post a new recipe (dates subject to change without notice - I'll do my best).  

I wanted to start with one of my favorites.  Every time I whine about how I'm craving some sort of junk food, Liza always comes to the rescue by saying, "I can make you a healthy version of that."  She said this exact thing last year when we were living in Chicago.  I told her how I was craving a pumpkin muffin from Starbucks.  She did some research, worked her magic, and whipped together a vegan, gluten-free pumpkin muffin that we make together all the time.  I think they are completely amazing.  The basic recipe is from - a great resource for vegan recipes and health info.  Our additions/alterations are in bold. 

Note:  Many of the recipes you will see are modified versions of great recipes that we find which may not be totally vegan or that we just want to jazz up a little.  I will always tell you where the original recipe came from so you can look them up for yourself - there is some really great stuff out there!  

So, without further ado...

Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour (we use almond flour.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (we skip the cloves, but we're sure they'd be tasty.)
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (we usually use 1/2 cup and skip the sugar.)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar (we skip it, remember?)
  • 1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax [Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal is great!] + 3 Tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (this is the key to make them insanely moist!)
  • We also add SunSpire Vegan Carob Chips because chocolate makes everything better!


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  (we use muffin tins with vegan butter - it's easier.) 
  3. Whisk flax egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients (spelt, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves). Set aside.
  5. In a different bowl mix the butter, sugar and agave until smooth. 
  6. Now add pumpkin, flax egg, and vanilla. Beat well.
  7. Carefully mix in dry ingredients being sure not to over mix. Spelt is broken down very quickly when mixed and you can end up with a tough batter if you over mix it. But relax it will turn out regardless! The batter will be very moist and sticky, but don’t worry!
  8. Pour batter evenly into muffin tins 
  9. Baking times vary based on the oven so bake until tops brown and do the toothpick test (stick a toothpick in the middle - if it comes out clean, they are done)
  10. Makes approximately 12 muffins.
Enjoy, happy eating, and after you have made these, please comment to let us all know what you think!  And, as always, tell your friends so we can support each other along this journey!


  1. Sounds delicious. For me, the craving would be a Panera pumpkin muffin. I'll have to try this over the summer with Zoe.
    Question: How long have you been vegan and has Liza been vegan longer? What changes have both of you seen---if any--in your skin?

  2. Ah, Panera. It has been years since I've been there. Good times.

    I decided to become vegan around September of last year but the wedding, honeymoon, and multiple moves provided too many variables that would have made the transition too difficult. So, I only became vegan 2 months ago. Liza has been pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) for many years but became fully vegan at the same time I did. I don't think we've been vegan long enough to see any skin issues but so far, so good. And I understand that the most effective way to tell that veganism isn't the right choice by looking at your fingernails. If they are too dry, broken, and/or brittle, you need more oils that you may not be getting. A specialist that we've seen out here gave us a helpful way to remember the keys to healthy eating:


    High fiber
    Enzymes/bulk (fruits and veggies)

    Hope that helps!

  3. Thank you! I tried these today... didn't have alternate flours so used regular... didn't have agave, so used maple syrup (instead of agave and sugar) ... didn't have pumpkin, so used acorn squash. Yield 15. about 150 Cal. each. Delicious... (tho' needed a dollop of jam). Will try to get closer to the actual recipe next time. :-)